Sunday, September 30, 2018

12th Street Sidewalk Improvements Come into Focus

Construction is now far enough along that you can see some of the changes to 12th Street between Fairview and Hoyt.

No more continuous driveway:
Greatly reduced right- and left-hook threats
One very welcome change is the elimination of what had been more or less a continuous curb cut at the market on the corner with Fairview. Even where the curb cut "ended," the curb was so low that you could drive over it easily.

Before: via Streetview
Now there's a full curb between the parking lot and the sidewalk, and one single curb cut for the driveway at the north end of the lot (in the top photo you can see a silver SUV using it).

This looks to be a great improvement for what had been a rather anarchic parking lot and access. There were definitely more dangerous places in Salem, but the drivers trying to whip into the lot through a gap in traffic constituted a real right- and left-hook hazard, requiring heightened attention when walking or biking here.

Some other parts of the project might be worth noticing.

Project map (2016)

New rain garden, placed behind the sidewalk
There are several rain gardens installed for stormwater management. This one is on the other side of the sidewalk, but farther north, several smaller ones are in line with the sidewalk and force a defection around them. This seems annoying, and I'll have to come back for better photos and more consideration of them. It's not immediately clear why they couldn't also be on the other side of the sidewalk. In line or outside, together with the sidewalk proper they will occupy the same total width, so it does not seem that right-of-way acquisition forced the in line placement.

New bridge at Clark Creek
Here's the new bridge over Clark Creek, replacing the old culvert. It'll be interesting to see how much room they have left for the sidewalk and bike lane. With the jersey barriers and construction detours, it's still hard to discern the final widths and striping plan.

Before: 12th Street at the Clark Creek Culvert
Between Hoyt and McGilchrist the sidewalk disappeared
All in all, the section of new sidewalk, as well as the section of rebuilt sidewalk, looks to be a great improvement. But because of the new auto capacity from the new lane, auto speeds here may be more zoomy, and the revised bike lane may not feel any more comfortable. It may be a wash for biking, but a solid improvement for walking.

Update, April 10th, 2019 

Here's some sad news. The market at the new turn lane has closed.

The market on 12th at Fairview SE closed recently
maybe in late March
It's hard not to think that the widening of 12th street had something to do with it.

In order to create the new turn lane, the City sliced off part of the sidewalk and parking lot. The new parking lot has no exit onto Fairview, and no room to turn around. So you have to back out after you've pulled in. It's very awkward, and seems likely this was at least an ingredient in whatever set of reasons led to the closure. (There's also a different competing convenience store just a block away, so it's also unlikely there's one single, master variable here.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with note on the store closure.